While you make 1 lasagna, why not make 3? It recently crossed my mind that while you make 1 lasagne, why not make lots of lasagna? I don’t know why I haven’t considered it before, or why no one has told told me about this power trick. While I have everything out for a particular meal, making a mess, going through the steps… why not make really it worth it? Cook for a couple of other nights. Or other people.
Especially with lasagna. Because it is pretty easy to make lasagna but I usually don’t make it that soon again because it’s a bit of work.
So take a tip from me… next time, while you make 1 lasagne, why not make lots of lasagna?
Another tip, a garlic white sauce is my secret ingredient. More on that further down…
How to make lasagna
Basic lasagna ingredients
To make a good lasagna there is usually pasta, mince meat, and cheese.
Flat long lasagna pasta
The pasta comes in long flat pieces. If you are buying them form the store, look for lasagna pasta boxes. If you are making it fresh, good on you!
Beef mince (or any kinds)
The mince meat can be a combination of beef and pork. Or just beef. That’s how we like it. We also spice the mince quite heavily with salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, basil, and parley. We used to buy chilli Club House packets from the store until I realized that they are simply a combination of spices we already have.
Any food pasta has cheese. And loads of it! I’m sure there are specific kinds of cheese that would compliment the gooeyness of a lasagna, but I find that our usual white cheddar cheese works just fine. If I have it, I will include some Parmesan cheese for some extra bold cheddar flavour. Cause why not?
Garlic white sauce
To take your lasagna to the next level, you can include a white sauce. This is what we do, and usually the best flavours are in my white sauce. That is because I make a white sauce with a heavy hand on the garlic.
When I was a little girl, I remember my parents taking us to a pasta restaurant. When the waiter asked me what I wanted to have, I asked for a garlic pasta. The waiter looked sort of puzzled that a young girl would want garlic pasta. And that’s not all. I asked for extra garlic! He double checked that he heard me correctly, and my dad gave me a look of “are you sure sweety?” and I said: YES! Turns out that garlic pasta was GARLIC-Y! So garlic-y it burned my mouth. But still, I loved garlic that much I ate it all.
Back to the white sauce. The sauce isn’t really a must-have, but it helps bring together the mince and pasta layers.
When I make a lasagna, I layer it pasta, mince, white sauce, cheese. Then again: pasta, mince, white sauce, cheese.
I like to use a deep pan for lasagna because 3 layers is the best. However, depending on the depth of your pan 2 layers are sufficient and will make a good lasagna.
How to make lots of lasagna?
Like I said earlier, if you’re going through the “trouble” of making 1 lasagna, why not make lots of lasagne? However many you choose to make, I should warn you that it is a bit of work so prepare yourself!
It is worth the up-front effort. Remember that you would have normally spent more time making each lasagna per night. Now you are only spending a fraction of the time it would have taken to make each lasagne from scratch. But then again, while you make 1 lasagne why not make 3?
Directions for making lots of lasagna
Cooking the meat
- Start by defrosting lots of mince meat. Or buy lots mince meat, more than you would for 1 lasagna. Remember, while you make 1 lasagne why not make 3?
A little math could help you plan precisely how much you would need. We purchase our mince meat in 1 lb bags. One lasagne takes about 2-3 lb depending on the size of your pan. Therefore, I defrosted about 8 lb of mince meat.
Now would also be a good time to defrost any other ingredients you may use that you have in your freezer. We are going to use our tomato sauce that we preserved from our garden this year. To see how we processed and froze our tomatoes quickly, go here.
2. Cook your mince meat in a large pot.
I drizzled some olive oil in a pot and added all our mince meat at the same time. With regular stirring, the meat cooked quickly.
3. While the mince meat cooks, chop onions. I peeled several onions and chopped them quickly in our food processor. About 1 onion per lasagne, but add a few more if you have small onions.
4. Brown the onions in a separate pan and keep stirring the mince meat.
5. Add the onions to the mince.
6. Add 1 cup of tomatoes (puree/diced/thick sauce) per lb or meat. At this point, we had way to much meat in one pot to add enough tomatoes. So we split half the mince into a another pot.
7. Add 2 tbs of tomato paste per lb of meat. This will which help thicken the sauce, because you don’t want a lasagna with too much liquid.
8. Stir meat and let the sauce cook down for a while (20-25 minutes).
Prepping the pasta sheets
To prepare the pasta, the directions on the box always threw me off. They want you to cook the pasta for some time before making the layers. This is nonsense. My friend Carla told me a great tip when I was making lasagna for my in-laws for the first time and didn’t want to mess it up. She told me you can simply let the pasta sit in water to cook a little, it does not need to be fully cooked and soft by the time you combine your layers.
9. Add the pasta sheets to a pan of water (I use boiling waiter) to sit while you are doing all your prep work. By the time you are ready to combine the layers into a lasagna, the pasta is semi cooked. That’s all you really need, because the rest of the semi cooks in the oven. I usually map out how many pasta sheets I will need by placing them in the pans, and adding as many layers as I would like to have. Then I have a rough idea. Remember, while you make 1 lasagne why not make 3?
Making the white sauce
10. Make the white sauce by melting 1/4 cup butter in a large pan. If you are making lots of lasagna like I recommend here, then you want to plan for 1/4 cup of butter, 1/3 cup of flour, and 1 cup of milk per lb of meat. Because I’m making lots of lasagne, I started two pans with 1/2 cup of butter in each.
11. To the melted butter, add the flour and stir vigorously with a fork. My stove is on low-medium heat, leaning a little more to the medium. You can use a whisk instead of a fork (as many experts recommend) but I really like using a fork for several reason. The fork responds more to my vigorous movements than the whisk does. Less food get stuck in the fork than when I have tried using a whisk.
You will see that when you are making a white sauce, you need to bring your A game. The idea is for the flour to “cook” in the butter. The flour will naturally become clumpy. By stirring with emphasis of downward pressing in circular motions, the flour clumps are forced to make contact with the pan to cook.
12. After 2-3 minutes, add a splash of milk and continue to stir powerfully. Continue adding the milk bit by bit. Each time, stir until the butter/flour clumps are totally combined with the milk.
13. Keep adding milk in stages until all is combined with the flour and you are left with a milky sauce.
14. Cook the white sauce for about 25 minutes to fully thicken. I keep the stove at low-medium.. but now leaning to the lower side. Come back every 5 minutes or so to give it a stir.
Secret ingredients of the white sauce
15. When the sauce is semi-stiffened (after about 15 minutes) add the nutmeg and garlic. Stir well and let the sauce cook another 10 minutes.
Grate the cheese
To grate loads of cheese for my many lasagna’s, I consult the strength of my food processor. It chops 1 kg of cheese in a few minutes with no sweat at my brow. These tools are great gifts to us, thank you Lord.
16. Grate 1 kg of white cheddar and 1/2 kg of parmesan.
Grate more cheese than you think necessary, you can always save the rest in your fridge or freezer. Remember, you aren’t making just 1 meal, because while you make 1 lasagne why not make 3?
Combining the layers
You are ready to begin combining the lasagna layers when your tomato sauce has cooked down its liquid and the pasta is semi-soft. The white sauce has enveloped the secret ingredients, and the grated cheese is ready to marry it.
17. Set up the pasta, meat, sauce, and cheese in a buffet style lineup.
18. Combine the lasagne layers. I start with a line of past at the base of the pan, then a layers of mince, white sauce and cheese. If you can repeat these layers twice, great. If you can get 3 layers, even better. Finish with a layer of cheese at the top.
While I’m making lots of lasagna, the drive to finish is that one of the lasagna’s is dinner for tonight. Therefore, I must finish! When the the first lasagne is prepared, I turn my oven to 350 degrees Celsius.
19. Add the lasagna to the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Celsius.
Turn oven to broil, bake another 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it not to burn. The high broil will boil the cheese and create a nice cheese crust on top of the lasagna. This is my favourite part of the lasagna!
If you made other lasagnas, you can freeze them for later.
20. Wrap the pan in tin foil, label and freeze for another evening.
When you remove the frozen lasagna in future to cook, bake the first 20 minutes in the oven with the tin foil on, thereafter remove the tinfoil for the final 5 minutes of broil.
Now, each time you make lasagna, you can remember that while you make 1 lasagne why not make 3 (or lots more!)?
Watch me make all our lasagnas
Beef lasagna recipe
Lasagne with 3 layers recipe
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Large pot
- Large pan
- Food Processor not required, but helpful
- 2 lb Beef mince
- 2 lb Pasta layers
- 2 cup Tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 Onion
- 2 tbsp Basil
- 2 tbsp Oregano
- 1 tbsp Parsley
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 2½ cups Milk
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 1/3 cup Flour
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 2-3 Garlic Gloves
- Defrost lots of mince meat and any other frozen goods you may use (like tomato sauce or parsley)
- In a large pot, add olive oil and add mince meat
- Cook mince on medium-high heat until brown, stirring occasionally
- While the mince meat cooks, chop onions.
- In a large pan, brown the onions with olive oil on medium-high heat
- Once the mince meat has cooked, add the sautéed onions
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste to mince, stir in well
- Allow tomato sauce to cook down with mince for 20-25 minutes
- Add the pasta sheets to a pan of boiling water to sit while you are doing all your prep work
- Next, make the white sauce by melting butter in a large pan
- To the melted butter, add the flour and stir vigorously with a fork
- After 2-3 minutes, add a splash of milk and continue to stir powerfully
- Continue adding the milk bit by bit. Each time, stir until the butter/flour clumps are totally combined with the milk
- Cook the white sauce for about 25 minutes to fully thicken
- When the sauce is semi-stiffened (after about 15 minutes) add the nutmeg and garlic
- Grate 1 kg of white cheddar and 1/2 kg of parmesan
- Set up the pasta, meat, sauce, and cheese in a buffet style lineup.
- Add the lasagna to the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Celsius
- Wrap extra lasagna pans in tin foil, label and freeze for another evening
Pin it to a Pinterest board for later
Pin this method so that next time you while you make 1 lasagna, make lots of lasagna! Then you can tell others… while you make 1 lasagne why not make 3 (or a whole lot more)?